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John Heinis: Riki Fukuda is another fighter who had a ton of success on the regional scene only to struggle in the Octagon, boasting a UFC record of just 1-2 since his debut at UFC 127 in Feb. 2011.
However, his loss to Nick Ring was heavily disputed to the point where he still received his win bonus for the fight. Whatever the case may be, Fukuda doesn't have it any easier in his upcoming bout against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Tom DeBlass.
DeBlass went 7-0 in the East Coast-based Ring of Combat promotion before losing a very close decision to Cyrille Diabate in his UFC debut, also a Fuel TV event, in April.
This bout is tough to call as both competitors have at least adequate striking and a solid grappling game, but I think Deblass' submission skills will be the difference-maker.
Tom DeBlasss via split decision
Dwight Wakabayashi: Tough veteran Fukuda thrilled the Japanese fans earlier this year with a win in his home country over Steve Cantwell, but he couldn't follow it up in his loss to Costa Philippou.
Fukuda is experienced, well-rounded and needs to put some momentum together. DeBlass lost his UFC debut to Cyrille Diabate.
Fukuda will be tough and savvy enough to keep his every other fight win trend going.
Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision
Matt Juul: Rising middleweight Tom DeBlass was unable to keep his undefeated streak intact when he took on Cyrille Diabate earlier this year. Ending up on the wrong side of a majority decision, the BJJ black belt will look to right his ship against Riki Fukuda.
"The Killer Bee" is also coming into this bout off a loss, dropping a unanimous decision to Costa Philippou at UFC 148.
Fukuda is a solid wrestler with heavy hands but doesn't have the submission skills of DeBlass.
However, the Japanese star has never been tapped out in his MMA career and will likely be able to defend any attempts on Saturday. It's going to be close, but I'm going with Fukuda.
Riki Fukuda via split decision